Dealing With Home Emergencies After Retirement

Written by Joshua Nelson

You’ve finally made it to retirement, and you’re ready to revel in your “golden years”. You have some plans on how to spend your time and manage your retirement income, but a lot of question marks still remain.

It won’t be as easy to take care of DIY home improvement projects. But when emergency-level projects are thrust upon you, you can’t afford to delay attending to them. Sure, you’d rather spend your time sitting by the seashore, fishing and enjoying the weather in some vacation paradise.

But realistically, you’re aware that accidents, emergencies, and urgent home repairs are sure to crop up from time to time.

Here are seven of the most common types of home emergencies you need to be prepared to deal with effectively and efficiently as you enter retirement:

  1. Plumbing Emergencies

A home emergency that is potentially the most devastating and difficult to deal with has to do with plumbing. A badly clogged toilet, drain, or pipe that drain decloggers and plungers will not cure, a broken or burst hot water heater/system, or an out-of-sight leak from a plumbing pipe that is softening your drywall and flooding your floor are only a few of the possible scenarios.

Water damage, backed up sewage and wastewater, the spread of dangerous pathogens, and the creation of a slip-and-fall hazard are some of the dangers plumbing “gone wrong” can bring in its wake.

If you don’t possess the tools and know-how for rapid plumbing repairs, or if you don’t want to be bothered with it now that you’re retired, be sure to keep the number of a 24/7 emergency plumber, such as PlumbingFix, always handy.

  1. Outbreaks Of Mold And Mildew

Sometimes in the wake of a flood or simply due to too much moisture or condensation accumulated in certain areas of your home, you may suddenly spot mold and mildew growth.

Mold shouldn’t be taken lightly. It not only makes your walls, ceilings, baseboards, or other affected area look unappealing, it is a genuine health hazard. Black mold especially can cause serious lung infections, exacerbate asthma, irritate allergies, and violent coughing episodes.

Try cleaning away mold or mildew yourself first, using bleach water, a stiff-bristled brush, gloves, and a protective mask. But if the mold is too extensive, too hard to reach (in an attic, cellar, or hard-to-access crevice), or continually reoccurs, it’s time to call in the professionals. Keep an emergency number for a reputable mold removal and remediation company, like RestorationElite, in your personal contacts book.

  1. Power Brownouts

Losing power for extended periods of time is potentially dangerous for anyone, but it is especially hard on children and on the elderly. You don’t want to needlessly risk your own safety and that of family by being taken by surprise by a brownout.

First of all, have a well thought out plan of action. Contact family and friends to let them know you’re safe. Check on the neighbors. Know where the nearest emergency shelter is located. But also be sure to keep such items as these ready at hand:

  • A gas-powered generator. Choose a model that has wheels and is lightweight and easy to move. And don’t forget to stay stocked up on fuel.
  • Electric indoor-grade space heaters, fans, and cooking equipment to run off your generator.
  • A battery-powered emergency radio, with an extra set of unused batteries.
  • Non-perishable food products and bottled water.
  • Warm clothes and blankets.
  • A back-up supply of basic medicines, any necessary prescription meds, and a first aid kit.
  • Candles and flashlights (with extra batteries).
  • Cash you can live on temporarily. ATMs and in-store card scanners may all be temporarily down.
  • Books, board games, or anything non-electronic that will make the time pass.
  1. Broken HVAC System

Especially in extreme climates and particularly for the elderly, having a heating or air conditioning system fail can be a serious or even life-threatening event (in conjunction with a power outage or natural disaster.)

Signs your HVAC unit may need a repair or need to be replaced include: it runs but with little production, it fails to consistently turn on, unusual sounds are emanating from the device, or the unit is leaking water. The last sign specifically calls for professional intervention.

  1. Gas Leaks

An unnoticed gas leak is an extreme danger. Fires, explosions, or gas poisoning are all possibilities, depending on the type of gas, quantity of gas, and what the gas comes into contact with.

If you even suspect you smell gas, move quickly to shut off your gas supply at the meter, open up doors/windows to create ventilation, and shut down all electrical devices. Next, call a licensed gas fitter to inspect your home, detect and eliminate any gas leaks.

  1. Locked Out

While it might be surprising, around a third of U.S. adults have been locked out of their home at one point or another.It often happens when taking out the garbage or coming home from a night out on the town. About one in ten have been locked out while in their pajamas (or worse)!

Solutions include hiding a spare key in a potted plant, under a rock, or some other unsuspected location, giving your neighbor a spare key (if you trust him/her enough), and investing in a “smart lock” and always taking your smart phone with you.

  1. Damaged Roof

Roof repairs are easily among the most urgent of all home repairwork. Ice dams in the winter and clogged up gutters in the fall can push water up your roof and down through any leakage points.

If you spot even a small leak, attend to it quickly or call in a roofing contractor to help. An annual roof inspection with minor repairs will do much to prevent leaks and warn you when a new roof put on will have to be installed.

We’re aware that retirement translates to not having to worry so much anymore. However, planning out strategies to dealing with these emergencies will provide you with the much needed peace of mind.

Joshua Nelson is a super-connector with ManageBacklinks.io who helps businesses with building their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. Joshua frequently writes about the latest advancements in the SaaS world and digital marketing.

Arthritis Friendly Retirement Activities

Written by Jessica Hegg

Freedom from job obligations is probably one of the biggest advantages of retirement, but the “take this job and shove it” effect is usually only short term.

Apropos of nothing, I’ve always found it interesting that a man who sang about quitting his job chose a stage name like Johnny Paycheck. There is probably a deeper meaning there that eludes me.

Back to the blog. Most of us who retire around 65 can expect to live at least another twenty years, because as they say, 60 is the new 40 and 80 is the new 60. All these days and hours will start to drag unless you have a sense of purpose, and since many of us define ourselves by our occupations, this intentionality is not always easy to find.

Somewhat complicating matters, many of us start experiencing chronic physical illnesses, such as arthritis, in our 60s and 70s. Although arthritis is not fatal or even terribly serious, it can transform previously enjoyable activities into chores. Furthermore, because of unwanted side effects, powerful muscle relaxers or painkillers are often not a very good option.

So, what are some arthritis-friendly ways to not only pass the time as we age, but also help us find purpose and meaning?

Low-Impact Exercises

Physical exercise is important at all ages, and the most recent research suggests that even a little bit of moderate exercise, such as a half-hour of brisk walking four or five days a week, has significant emotional and physical benefits.

Walking is very easy on the joints, so even folks with arthritic knees and/or ankles can do a few laps without much of a problem. A few light stretches after exercising should help ease any lingering discomfort.

No-impact water aerobics may be an option as well, and many people also benefit greatly from senior-friendly yoga classes. Such activities address not only the physical component, but the emotional component as well. Loneliness is a fairly significant problem among older people, even people who are married. Being around like-minded people of a similar age and station in life may help participants feel like they belong somewhere. Many class participants might go on to teach their own classes, thus giving them a sense of purpose.

Aquatic exercises place no strain whatsoever on joints, and yoga stretches might actually reduce arthritis pain, if for no other reason that the participant focuses on something other than achy joints for about a half hour a day.

Art Therapy

Some people communicate better visually than orally, and art therapy is simply an extension of that idea. Primarily, two types of people can benefit from this activity:

  • People who have experienced traumatic events in their lives and need to understand them, and
  • Those who are looking for personal development.

Many retired people fall squarely into that second category.

Similar to yoga, art therapy is a good way to stop thinking about arthritis pain for a few hours a week. As for using arthritic fingers to paint, many people ask “do arthritis gloves work?” The answer is a resounding yes. The compression and heat ease discomfort, and many gloves have no fingers, so fine motor skills, like holding a brush or manipulating a phone, are largely unaffected.

Volunteering

Practically no one has arthritis of the jaw, and there is no such thing as arthritis of the soul, so even more advanced arthritis cannot stand in the way of volunteering for a cause.

To find temporal fulfillment as well as emotional fulfillment, volunteering in this context probably means operating a soup kitchen instead of serving lunch a couple of times a week or being a higher level campaign operative as opposed to an envelope stuffer. While there is certainly nothing wrong with serving lunch or stuffing envelopes, and these activities are vital to their respective organizations, retired people have a near-limitless resource to share (their time), and this resource is arguably more precious than money or anything else.

You did not call in sick due to a head cold while working, and there is no reason to call in sick during retirement either, especially when there are so many available options.

Retirement Advice I Would Give the Twenty Year Old Me

If I only knew then what I know now. Way back when I was 20 thoughts of retirement never crossed my mind. There were plenty other distractions. I could not even imagine being retirement age. But funny thing – here I am.

I have learned a thing or two over the years whether through my personal experience or those of friends and family. If I could share with the 20-year-old-Dave any words of wisdom to prepare for the road ahead, it would go something like this:

Prepare for the non-financial side of retirement

Everyone knows it is critical to save enough to subsidize the retirement lifestyle you hope to live. But too few consider the importance of preparing beyond finances. What will you do to find meaning in your day? Who will you become once you are no longer defined by the person you were on the job? How does your spouse envision retirement? It is too easy to waltz into retirement without preparing for the coming 10 or 20 or more years ahead. Without genuine preparation you risk boredom and dissatisfaction during a time of life that should be anything but.

Hands off retirement savings accounts

Over my 30 year career I moved from job to job quite a bit. One consequence was repeatedly facing the option to cash out 401k accounts. In most cases the temptation proved too great. Too often I withdrew the funds, paid the 10% additional tax fine and had money to do as I wanted. The only good thing is I did not use the money to splurge but rather to pay off bills that had accumulated. Still I sacrificed potential growth over multiple years that could have added to my ultimate retirement nest egg. “Leave it alone and let I grow” would be my suggestion to the younger me.

Don’t count on staying at the same company

In my career as a sales manager focused on start-up companies there was not much latitude when it came to hitting target goals. If quota was not achieved, no matter how unreasonable or inflated the number, your job was on the line. I had a pretty good batting average over all but there were times when missing a quarterly target cost my job.

Message to younger self: be prepared to work at many different companies over your working years. The days of spending an entire career at one place are gone.

Understand the financial realities of retirement

Retirement will not be cheap. According to Fidelity healthcare costs for the average couple retiring in 2016 will ring in at $260,000. Healthcare insurance rates are sky rocketing with double digit yearly increases becoming the accepted norm. Everything is getting more expensive while your income remains fixed.

No one knows what unplanned health event their future may hold. My parents experienced this recently when my dad had a stroke. Initial hospital charges were huge and the bills keep coming. Thankfully they have a Medigap plan which helps pay healthcare costs not covered by Medicare including co-payments and deductibles.

In retirement you want to do those things you have dreamed of. Realizing those dreams will generally not be cheap either. When budgeting don’t forget to account for those things you have been waiting all your life to do.

Note to 20-year-self: put those dollars aside now so you can do all you dream of when you finally have the time to do it.

Getting retirement right takes practice

Since this will be our first time at it, none of us has any real experience being retired. It is possible you may not get everything exactly right from the get go. Be prepared to be dynamic, to go with the flow. Make changes where necessary, try new things, and don’t be too hard on yourself. There is no deadline to get everything right. So long as you continue to learn as you go you are making progress.

Keep exercising

When I was around twenty I began a life-long commitment to good health setting aside time for regular exercise and attempting to eat a decent diet. I would remind the younger me that good habits now will continue to be good habits later in life. Exercise is an important part of any happy retirement. Keep weight training for muscle and bone strength. Continue yoga and stretching for balance and flexibility. Get some cardio to keep the heart healthy. And don’t neglect exercise for your brain one very important “muscle” to keep in shape. The retirement journey will be that much more enjoyable when you are healthy in mind and body.

It might have been helpful to hear these words of wisdom when I was younger. But I cannot complain. I am retired with my wonderful wife in a beautiful part of the world. We are healthy and happy. And I just started a part time job pouring wine at a wonderful little winery walking distance from where we live. All in all, retirement has turned out a-okay for us.

LoveBeingRetired.com